DC Restaurant Week
Washington might be taking a summer breather, but our restaurant world is going strong. Coming up on Aug. 13-19 is summer Restaurant Week, presented by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington and Events DC. The promotion is an excellent opportunity to experience our restaurants at bargain prices.
Here’s the deal: pre-fixe lunch or brunch is $22; three-course dinners are $35.
Among participating restaurants are Unconventional Diner (Walter Washington Convention Center), China Chilcano, Ambar (Barracks Row and Arlington), City Winery, Cork Wine Bar, Espita Mezcaleria, Farmers & Distillers, Logan Tavern, Siren and many more. For a complete list visit www.ramw.org.restaurantweek.
Ben’s Chili Bowl, the historic U Street eatery which has been serving chili dogs and nostalgia for the past six decades, has received a new honor. Founded in 1958 by Ben Ali and his wife Virginia, Ben’s – which survived recessions, gentrification and the 1968 riots – celebrates its 60th anniversary on Aug. 22. Moreover, the DC Council has voted to rename the 1200 block of U St. NW Ben’s Chili Bowl Way. A side street is already called Ben Ali Way. Ben’s also operates Ben’s Next Door, as well as Atlas District spinoffs at 1001 H St. NE and Ben’s Upstairs.
Dirty Goose Arrives
The Dirty Goose, a snazzy LGBT-friendly bar and restaurant, debuted this summer in the busy U Street corridor. The 3,300-square-foot hotspot is named for a potent potable: the Grey Goose (vodka) dirty martini. “We’re shooting for an approachable upscale atmosphere,” co-owner Justin Parker told Eater DC, adding that The Dirty Goose hopes to expand to the adjoining rooftop next door.
Besides burgers, fries and salads, the kitchen makes its own pickles, which can be fried. The pickle juice is used to marinate chicken, which might be paired with waffles. An early favorite is the petite stuffed potato appetizer with bacon, pimento cheese and olive tapenade. The olive bread recipe comes straight from co-owner Daniel Honeycutt’s mother in Birmingham.
The Dirty Goose is the restaurant debut for Parker and Honeycutt, who are also busy planning their wedding in October. They hope to help fill a local void of gay bars (in spite of Washington’s large gay population). Nearby, the 20-year-old Town Danceboutique departed earlier this summer. On Barracks Row, Orchid, a 1920s-themed LGBT bar, opened in mid-May.
Besides the Dirty Grey Goose cocktail, another theme is the bowtie, an upscale but fun accessory. No word on whether bowties are required apparel. Located at 913 U St. NW, The Dirty Goose is open nightly. For exact hours call 202-629-1462 or visit www.thedirtygoose.com.
And, Po Boy Jim Bar & Grill, the Atlas District eatery known for its eponymous sandwiches and Cajun cooking, has unveiled a spinoff in Shaw. You’ll find it at 1934 Ninth St. NW. Emerging from the homespun kitchen are po’boys – those New Orleans culinary staples – as well as “devilish” eggs, red beans and rice, cheesy grits and fettuccine with Cajun-style Alfredo sauce. Visit www.poboyjim.com.
Spirits Are High in Ivy City
This fall, amaro maker Don Ciccio & Figli is moving into a bigger distillery space, complete with its own bar, to feed increasing demand for its bittersweet and herbal liqueurs. Don Ciccio & Figli will be located at 1907 Fairview Ave. NE, across the street from another DC spirits maker, One Eight Distilling, and not far from women-owned Republic Restoratives. The multi-use facility will accommodate tours, a production and aging area and a tasting room. The bar, Bar Sirenis, named after sirens heard on the streets of the Amalfi coast, will serve a lineup of amaro cocktails including amari, aperitivi and cordials.
Yet more news from Ivy City: Gravitas, created by first-time restaurateur Matt Baker, arrived recently. The kitchen’s seasonally rotating tasting menus, including myriad vegetarian options, range from four to seven courses. Located at 1401 Okie St. NE, Gravitas is open Tuesday-Saturday for dinner only. Call 202-763-7942.
Logan Circle Crowning Glory
The Crown & Crow, a stunning, Victorian-themed whiskey bar, has opened in Logan Circle. Located at 1317 14th St. NW, the newcomer was created by partners Brian Harrison and Ben Sislen, who also own Kingfisher up the street. The 230-seat enterprise sparkles with chandeliers; dominating the space is a 1,100-square-foot bar. Around the corner is the even larger, 2,700-square-foot Crown Room.
The partners designed the place themselves; it helps that Harrison is a professional artist. Furnishings come from various sources. High bar tables were acquired from neighboring Cork, which moved up the street. A wooden bar was salvaged from Philadelphia; barstools also come from Philly.
To encourage sampling, The Crown & Crow pours 14 draft beers. Cocktails focus on whiskeys (eventually 100 types). There’s no food, but customers are free to order in from anywhere, and the neighborhood offers numerous culinary options. Open nightly; call 202-436-4595.
Watch This Space?
Looks like Shaw might get a Laotian restaurant sometime soon. The owners of Thip Khao in Columbia Heights and Padaek in Falls Church plan a third Laotian restaurant this fall. Mother-son duo Seng Luangrath and Bobby Pradachith have been eyeing a space on Seventh Street NW but nothing is definite. Stay tuned.
Moving, But Not Far
Mt. Vernon Triangle’s Busboys and Poets, after a decade in the CityVista building, is relocating, but not too far. Citing rising rents at the original location, proprietor Andy Shallal is moving his popular restaurant/bookstore to nearby 450 K St. NW, former home of recently shuttered French bakery l’Hommage Francais. Busboys and Poets, which operates a half-dozen restaurants in the DC area, is planning a seventh BB&P across the river in Anacostia. Look for it.